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Accused Pot Grower Sues Over Bad Warrant, Cops Inviting Media To Watch Search

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First the cops searched his house for pot and invited the media to watch.

Then he was accused of growing weed, and jailed for 21 days.

Now comes the lawsuit.

Waterloo Township resident Dennis Myers, 46, who was cleared of pot-growing charges after a search warrant was deemed invalid last year, is suing a small-town police chief and his township over what he calls a reckless investigation.

According to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court, former Waterloo Township Police Chief Tom Cottrell misled a judge in 2013 in order to search Myers’ home for suspected marju plants. Moreover, the suit states, Cottrell invited members of the local news media into the home to witness the search, without the homeowner’s permission.

TV crews filmed the search — more than 30 marijuana plants were seized from the home and charges followed — but the homeowner was ultimately cleared. That’s because a state judge declared the search warrant invalid, concluding the chief didn’t disclose all pertinent information in obtaining the search warrant.

That not only infuriated and embarrassed Myers, who was criminally charged and detained for 21 days. It drove him to court.

More than a year after the unlawful search, Myers sued Cottrell and Waterloo Township in federal court in Detroit, alleging they violated his constitutional rights against unlawful searches.

“Chief Cottrell ... knowingly and deliberately, or with a reckless disregard for the truth, made false statements or omissions in the affidavit,” the lawsuit states. “His conduct in this case represents a policy, practice or custom on the township itself. As a result, plaintiffs rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were violated.”

Neither Cottrell nor Waterloo Township officials were readily available for comment. Cottrell resigned from his job as chief in January.

When asked why Cottrell resigned, the new Waterloo Township police chief, Robert Reznick, said “don’t know, don’t care.”

Reznick said he had heard “rumors” about the search at Myers’ home. When asked what he thought about police letting the media witness and videotape police searches, he said: “That’s sensationalism. I would never take someone that didn’t need to be on a search warrant on a search.”


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